DeMarcus Lawrence might be the Defensive Player of the Year — Lawrence had two sacks to increase his season total to an NFL-best 13 1/2. He was the catalyst for the Cowboys defensive front and has been the one constant this season. Even without defensive leader Sean Lee, the Cowboys defense dominated Washington’s beat-up offensive line. Lawrence was dinged up after David Irving’s huge hit on Cousins knocked the quarterback back into Lawrence.
On the other hand, Fox experienced an advertising windfall when MLB’s Astros-Dodgers World Series, and the Yankees-Astros American League Championship Series, both reached seven games. MLB TV networks typically budget for a five-game series, said a source. The ad dollars collected from six and seven game series is gravy.
Fox is far from the only sports TV network dealing with business challenges in the depressed sports TV environment. ESPN just laid off 150 staffers during the holiday season. Over two years, ESPN has pink-slipped 550 employees both in front of and behind the camera.
Browns coach Hue Jackson believes his team’s best chance to get its first win is for to force the ball into Brett Hundley’s hand. Despite not having Rodgers, the Packers have stayed alive in the playoff hunt because of their running game. The Browns defense will get back defensive tackle Danny Shelton and safety Jabrill Peppers from injury.
Pittsburgh is coming off a 40-17 thrashing of the Titans last Thursday. Things could be worse for the Packers on Sunday night. Green Bay was shut out at home for the first time since 2006 with last Sunday’s 23-0 loss to the Ravens.
The Packers are scoring 14 points fewer per game since losing Aaron Rodgers with a broken collarbone on Oct. 10. Coach Mike McCarthy will have to get creative against Pittsburgh’s second-ranked scoring defense.